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That ticking sound you hear is ‘60 Minutes' back in Charlotte

As the financial world remakes itself almost daily, Charlotte is getting another dose of national media attention – this time from CBS' “60 Minutes.”

Correspondent Lesley Stahl was in town this week to do a piece on Charlotte's role in the banking roller coaster, which has included Bank of America's planned purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. and Wachovia's ultimate sale to Wells Fargo & Co. On Wednesday, Stahl interviewed Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis and his predecessor Hugh McColl Jr., a source told the Insider.

A “60 Minutes” producer confirmed the piece is set to run Sunday.

Insider previously reported that a “60 Minutes” crew was at the Westin in August filming a World Affairs Council of Charlotte speech by Duke CEO Jim Rogers.

Giddyup, giddyup, uptown

Wells Fargo execs rolled into uptown Charlotte. Next up: one of the company's iconic stagecoaches.

Turns out a Wells Fargo stagecoach – complete with a team of horses – is appearing in this year's Thanksgiving parade in uptown Charlotte. It's sponsored by Wells Fargo's Charlotte-area home mortgage offices.

The stagecoach and horses appeared in last year's parade for the first time but received no media coverage, says Jack Snypes, a Charlotte-based Wells Fargo home mortgage consultant.

“I guess it's a little bigger story this year,” he says.

Could they be tricking us?

We're above average! At least when it comes to Halloween spending and participation, says Visa, which surveyed shoppers across the nation – including 400 locally – on their spending plans for the upcoming night of goblins, ghouls and utter madness in the aisles of local costume purveyors.

In Charlotte, 82 percent of people plan to celebrate Halloween, compared with the national average of 75 percent. And the average Charlotte resident expects to spend $53 on candy and decor, 13 percent higher than the national average of $47, the credit card giant found.

“Even in these difficult economic times, depriving our children, and our neighbors' children, of Halloween trick or treating is not something Charlotte residents seem willing to bear,” says Jason Alderman, Visa's director of financial education.

Alderman says Halloween presents an ideal teachable moment where parents can instill the importance of budgeting and spending wisely. (No word on consuming large quantities of sugar.)

No credit, no Wachovia HQ …

No problem. At least, not for US Airways. While the airline industry has issues, the captain of Charlotte's dominant carrier said recent local and national points of stress aren't causing problems.

Doug Parker, chairman and chief executive of US Airways, was in Charlotte recently for a United Way raffle. While the credit crunch has made some companies anxious about borrowing, Parker said his airline is just fine.

With financing for new jets locked in through 2009, he said, US Airways isn't looking to borrow a lot of money for major purchases anytime soon.

As for another bank acquiring Wachovia and Charlotte possibly losing jobs and a Fortune 500 headquarters, Parker said the US Airways hub gets enough other business travel that it doesn't depend solely on Wachovia.

“Charlotte,” he said, “is much bigger and stronger than that.”

Coming Sunday in MoneyWise in “On the Boss's Mind”: What the top executive at Denny's reads over breakfast.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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